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      E2 enzymes: more than just middle men


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          Ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes (E2s) are the central players in the trio of enzymes responsible for the attachment of ubiquitin (Ub) to cellular proteins. Humans have ∼40 E2s that are involved in the transfer of Ub or Ub-like (Ubl) proteins (e.g., SUMO and NEDD8). Although the majority of E2s are only twice the size of Ub, this remarkable family of enzymes performs a variety of functional roles. In this review, we summarize common functional and structural features that define unifying themes among E2s and highlight emerging concepts in the mechanism and regulation of E2s.

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          A ubiquitin-like system mediates protein lipidation.

          Autophagy is a dynamic membrane phenomenon for bulk protein degradation in the lysosome/vacuole. Apg8/Aut7 is an essential factor for autophagy in yeast. We previously found that the carboxy-terminal arginine of nascent Apg8 is removed by Apg4/Aut2 protease, leaving a glycine residue at the C terminus. Apg8 is then converted to a form (Apg8-X) that is tightly bound to the membrane. Here we report a new mode of protein lipidation. Apg8 is covalently conjugated to phosphatidylethanolamine through an amide bond between the C-terminal glycine and the amino group of phosphatidylethanolamine. This lipidation is mediated by a ubiquitination-like system. Apg8 is a ubiquitin-like protein that is activated by an E1 protein, Apg7 (refs 7, 8), and is transferred subsequently to the E2 enzymes Apg3/Aut1 (ref. 9). Apg7 activates two different ubiquitin-like proteins, Apg12 (ref. 10) and Apg8, and assigns them to specific E2 enzymes, Apg10 (ref. 11) and Apg3, respectively. These reactions are necessary for the formation of Apg8-phosphatidylethanolamine. This lipidation has an essential role in membrane dynamics during autophagy.
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            RAD6-dependent DNA repair is linked to modification of PCNA by ubiquitin and SUMO.

            The RAD6 pathway is central to post-replicative DNA repair in eukaryotic cells; however, the machinery and its regulation remain poorly understood. Two principal elements of this pathway are the ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes RAD6 and the MMS2-UBC13 heterodimer, which are recruited to chromatin by the RING-finger proteins RAD18 and RAD5, respectively. Here we show that UBC9, a small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO)-conjugating enzyme, is also affiliated with this pathway and that proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) -- a DNA-polymerase sliding clamp involved in DNA synthesis and repair -- is a substrate. PCNA is mono-ubiquitinated through RAD6 and RAD18, modified by lysine-63-linked multi-ubiquitination--which additionally requires MMS2, UBC13 and RAD5--and is conjugated to SUMO by UBC9. All three modifications affect the same lysine residue of PCNA, suggesting that they label PCNA for alternative functions. We demonstrate that these modifications differentially affect resistance to DNA damage, and that damage-induced PCNA ubiquitination is elementary for DNA repair and occurs at the same conserved residue in yeast and humans.
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              Control of spontaneous and damage-induced mutagenesis by SUMO and ubiquitin conjugation.

              Protein modification by ubiquitin is emerging as a signal for various biological processes in eukaryotes, including regulated proteolysis, but also for non-degradative functions such as protein localization, DNA repair and regulation of chromatin structure. A small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO) uses a similar conjugation system that sometimes counteracts the effects of ubiquitination. Ubiquitin and SUMO compete for modification of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), an essential processivity factor for DNA replication and repair. Whereas multi-ubiquitination is mediated by components of the RAD6 pathway and promotes error-free repair, SUMO modification is associated with replication. Here we show that RAD6-mediated mono-ubiquitination of PCNA activates translesion DNA synthesis by the damage-tolerant polymerases eta and zeta in yeast. Moreover, polymerase zeta is differentially affected by mono-ubiquitin and SUMO modification of PCNA. Whereas ubiquitination is required for damage-induced mutagenesis, both SUMO and mono-ubiquitin contribute to spontaneous mutagenesis in the absence of DNA damage. Our findings assign a function to SUMO during S phase and demonstrate how ubiquitin and SUMO, by regulating the accuracy of replication and repair, contribute to overall genomic stability.

                Author and article information

                Cell Res
                Cell Res
                Cell Research
                Nature Publishing Group
                April 2016
                22 March 2016
                1 April 2016
                : 26
                : 4
                : 423-440
                [1 ]Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington , Seattle, WA 98102 USA
                Author notes

                These two authors contributed equally to this work.

                Copyright © 2016 Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 Unported License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/


                Cell biology
                e2,ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes,hect,ring
                Cell biology
                e2, ubiquitin-conjugating enzymes, hect, ring


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